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No. 129 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

The greatest Beau at our next Country Sessions was dressed in a most monstrous Flaxen Periwig, that was made in King William’s Reign. The Wearer of it goes, it seems, in his own Hair, when he is at home, and lets his Wig lie in Buckle for a whole half Year, that he may put it on upon Occasions to meet the Judges in it.

I must not here omit an Adventure [which [5]] happened to us in a Country Church upon the Frontiers of Cornwall. As we were in the midst of the Service, a Lady who is the chief Woman of the Place, and had passed the Winter at London with her Husband, entered the Congregation in a little Headdress, and a hoop’d Petticoat. The People, who were wonderfully startled at such a Sight, all of them rose up. Some stared at the prodigious Bottom, and some at the little Top of this strange Dress. In the mean time the Lady of the Manor filled the [Area [6]] of the Church, and walked up to her Pew with an unspeakable Satisfaction, amidst the Whispers, Conjectures, and Astonishments of the whole Congregation.

Upon our Way from hence we saw a young Fellow riding towards us full Gallop, with a Bob Wig and a black Silken Bag tied to it. He stopt short at the Coach, to ask us how far the Judges were behind us. His Stay was so very short, that we had only time to observe his new silk Waistcoat, [which [7]] was unbutton’d in several Places to let us see that he had a clean Shirt on, which was ruffled down to his middle.

From this Place, during our Progress through the most Western Parts of the Kingdom, we fancied ourselves in King Charles the Second’s Reign, the People having made very little Variations in their Dress since that time. The smartest of the Country Squires appear still in the Monmouth-Cock [8] and when they go a wooing (whether they have any Post in the Militia or not) they generally put on a red Coat. We were, indeed, very much surprized, at the Place we lay at last Night, to meet with a Gentleman that had accoutered himself in a Night-Cap Wig, a Coat with long Pockets, and slit Sleeves, and a pair of Shoes with high Scollop Tops; but we soon found by his Conversation that he was a Person who laughed at the Ignorance and Rusticity of the Country People, and was resolved to live and die in the Mode.

Sir, If you think this Account of my Travels may be of any Advantage to the Publick, I will next Year trouble you with such Occurrences as I shall meet with in other Parts of England. For I am informed there are greater Curiosities in the Northern Circuit than in the Western; and that a Fashion makes its Progress much slower into Cumberland than into Cornwall. I have heard in particular, that the Steenkirk [9] arrived but two Months ago at Newcastle, and that there are several Commodes in those Parts which are worth taking a Journey thither to see.


[Footnotes 1: that]

[Footnote 2: and a]

[Footnote 3: Fashion of 1706]

[Footnote 4: that]

[Footnotes 5: that]

[Footnote 6: whole Area]

[Footnote 7: that]

[Footnote 8: Of 1685.]

[Footnote 9: Fashion of 1692-3.]